Ohio is celebrating its 212th birthday with special events at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
Santa Maria Replica “Rechristened”
Today’s Columbus Day observance at the Santa Maria replica was free of protest from Native American representatives. At last year’s event the ship was picketed and activists called for it to be destroyed. Michael Angelo Massa, spokesman for the non-profit Columbus Santa Maria Incorporated, says there doesn’t seem to be as much discord lately over what some say is a symbol European colonization.
“There are only two people in this country who have ever been named for individuals as national holidays – Martin Luther King, Junior and Christopher Columbus,” Massa says. “And we respect the right for the indigenous people to voice their opinions. So we don’t have much of an opinion. We respect their space and lately they’ve been respecting ours.”
The million dollar replica of one of Columbus’s three ships first went on display in 1992 to mark the 500th anniversary of the Italian explorer’s arrival in the New World.
Cannon fire accompanied the rechristening of the replica by Chavin Rucker, Miss Black Ohio. The rechristening marks the 15th year since the replica of the Italian explorer’s flagship went on display on the Scioto River.
“The ship was brought here for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus coming to the western world,” Massa says. “And we have each year been getting about 16,000 people from all over the world and we just thought it would be an appropriate time to do a rechristening.”